Fortune 100 VP | Silicon Valley Executive | Founder of BestBox.co | Growth Advisor | Author of The Digital Intrapreneur | CoachTony.ca
The way most people were exposed to or became involved in fitness in the past was pretty cut and dry. Physical gyms and classes were the primary drivers of the industry. Sure, there were niche apps and home programs that worked for some, but arguably only a fraction. In light of the Covid-19 pandemic, however, I believe the industry has changed not only significantly but permanently.
Earlier this year, I wrote an article titled “Putting Your Fitness Business On The Digital Road Map,” and over the last six months, there has been a veritable explosion of digital growth in this sector. From banner brands all the way down to small-town gyms, fitness professionals have had to get smarter and more agile to deliver the kind of digital fitness experience consumers are demanding during this unprecedented time in our global history.
Big Players Making Moves In The Digital Fitness Market
The way I see it, there is no bigger signal of this seismic shift than a company like Apple entering the marketplace. Apple is one of the largest companies in the world, and it carries on its back a metric ton of consumer influence, choice and perception. The company recently launched its virtual fitness application, Apple Fitness+, available on the Apple Watch and iPad products.
In a similar vein, Lululemon — a company that has largely operated as a clothing business — recently purchased the at-home fitness company Mirror, which sells smart mirrors that stream home workout classes. The company has already upped its projections for Mirror’s profits in this fiscal year, from $100 million to $150 million.
Spin giant Peloton has seen sales explode in the fourth quarter, 172% over last year, with subscriber numbers up 113%. Demand for at-home and digital-ready fitness is high, and its supply chain is struggling to keep up. When companies of this size are driving digital innovation at this level, it’s a clear signal that we’ve crossed into new territory.
Spikes In Mergers And Acquisitions
Anytime we see increased activity around mergers or acquisitions in an industry, it’s a sign that things are shifting. Perhaps it is consolidation because everyone is running out of money. Or, more likely to be the case right now, it’s the breakneck speed of growth — everyone is buying each other up in the hopes of being the one to lead the pack.
In 2019, Mindbody, a technology platform for health and fitness companies, was acquired for just under $2 billion. And earlier this year, Eric Roza, a tech entrepreneur with extensive experience in the software and digital space, acquired CrossFit. I believe this acquisition will bring a renewed focus on increasing digital developments in a company that was already trending up before the pandemic began.
Another company in this space, Zwift, allows runners and bikers to exercise in a simulated 3D world via its online